Sleep/wake patterns of individuals with advanced cancer measured by ambulatory polysomnography

Kathy P. Parker, Donald L. Bliwise, Maria Ribeiro, Sanjay R. Jain, Catherine I. Vena, Mary Kay Kohles-Baker, Andre Rogatko, Zhiheng Xu, Wayne B. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sleep/wake disturbances are prevalent in patients with advanced cancer, but 24-hour polysomnography (PSG) examinations of these patterns have not been undertaken. The purpose of this study was to describe these sleep/wake patterns using continuous PSG and to explore relationships with selected demographic and clinical variables. Patients and Methods: The sample included patients with advanced cancer (solid tumors); those with neurologic disorders or psychosis, substance abuse, or brain metastasis were excluded. The final sample included 114 participants with a mean age of 51.1 years (± 9.1 years). Participants underwent continuous, ambulatory PSG for 42 hours in their home environments. Standard PSG measures were calculated. Analysis included data from 2 nights and the intervening day. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize sleep/wake parameters of the average of the 2 nights and the intervening day. Nonparametric analyses were used to detect differences and relationships among the variables. Results: Compared with normative data, participants had reduced quantity and quality of nocturnal sleep and episodes of sleep scattered throughout the day. Increased daytime sleep was negatively associated with several key parameters of nocturnal sleep quantity and quality. Women, whites, and those who were married/partnered and had more education had better nocturnal sleep. Cancer type and selected medications may be risk factors for disturbed sleep and waking. Conclusion: Participants experienced severe difficulty with "state maintenance", or the ability to maintain both the sleep and waking states. Research designed to identify the etiology of these problems is needed to develop effective interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2464-2472
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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